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Win Friends With Eton Mess {Recipe}

eton mess deconstructedFor the past year, we have been dining with friends every Friday night. Alternating hosting with being guests, we compete not with each other but for the great dining experiences enjoyed together. Highlights have included a low country crawfish boil, the $5 Julia Child dinner, 18-hour braised pork, and the kid favorite, chicken and waffles. Recently our friends served us Eton Mess. Neither Alex nor I were familiar with this layered dessert of crunchy meringue, sweetened whipped cream and fresh fruit. Upon a single taste we agreed that this dessert is perfection.

eton mess recipe meringue cream berries

Eton Mess is a play of textures with simple, familiar flavors. The dessert is easy to make ahead and plate for individual servings as dinner comes to a close.

child dipping strawberrieschild piping meringue
As the very name suggest sloppiness, it is perfect for a child to make. For our version, Lil picked the berries, piped the meringue, and dipped the chocolate strawberry garnish. I whipped the cream, but only because Lil was too busy playing. That component, too, is easy for the beginning cook.

toddler eating eton mess

Homer Simpson said "You don't win friends with salad." I add the positive "You win friends with dessert," especially if your friend happens to be this adorable two-year-old.

Eton Mess Serves: 8 (with a few meringues left over) Time: 20 minutes prep, 2 hours cooking and cooling, 10 minutes plating

meringues: 2 egg whites (reserve yolks for mayonnaise, hollandaise, or another recipe) 1/8 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

cream: 1/2 cup whipping cream 2 teaspoons powdered or granulated sugar 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4 cups fresh strawberries, washed and sliced

8 chocolate-dipped strawberries (optional garnish)

for the meringues: 1. Place the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar in a large clean bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. 2. Beat with a rotary mixer or whip until foamy, about two minutes. Increase the speed and continue beating. 3. Add sugar one tablespoon at a time, fully incorporating each addition until the egg white are smooth again. 4. Continue beating until whites are very stiff. Then whip in the vanilla. 5. Transfer meringue to a piping bag or gallon ziploc bag, pressing mixture to release any air bubbles. 6. Using a one-inch round tip or a one-inch cut in the corner of the bag, pipe the meringue onto a cookie tray covered with a silicone mat or parchment in two- to three-inch rounds. 7. Bake meringue in a preheated 275 degrees F oven for 45 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 250 degress F and continue cooking until meringues are lightly brown and hard to the touch. Turn off the stove but leave cookie sheet in the oven with the door closed until cool.

for the whipped cream: 1. Place 1/2 cup whipping cream in a large clean bowl or bowl of a stand mixer. 2. Using a whisk or whip attachment, slowly whisk the cream. 3. After it becomes foamy, increase the speed a little. 4. Slowly add sugar until fully incorporated. 5. Continue to whip just until the cream stiffens into solid peaks. Whipping too long will end up with butter and buttermilk, so watch this closely. 6. Stir in vanilla extract.

assembly: 1. Select clear glass cups or goblets, one for each guest. 2. Fill the bottom with 2-3 crushed meringues. 3. Layer on 1/4 cup of sliced strawberries. 4. Top with a dallop of whipped cream. 5. Layer on more meringues, berries, and cream. 6. Top with a chocolate-dipped strawberry, if desired. 7. Serve immediately.

Here's the Simpsons reference:

 

Added to Simple Lives Thursday #96.